New York: Julian Messner, Inc., (1955). First edition. Illustrated with black and white photographs. Hardcover. Octavo. [xiv], 335 pages. Near fine in a very good, price-clipped dust jacket. Minor wear binding tips. Hinges sound. Jacket has a few small chips and short closed edge tears. Jacket spine remains unfaded--which is very uncommon on this title.
A fascinating, behind-the-scenes report on the U. S. push for space flight. Published just two years before Sputnik.
Of particular note is that this is the first book appearance of the aphorism "Murphy's Law," described herein as "Everything that can possibly go wrong WILL go wrong." The quote is attributed to Col. John Stapp, a USAF Flight Surgeon engaged in testing the effects of rapid deceleration g-forces on pilots.
Col. Stapp was referring to USAF Capt. Edward A. Murphy and his idea of using electronic strain gauges attached to the restraining clamps of a pilot's harness to test force exerted on them by rapid deceleration. When the gauges failed to register any force at all it was discovered that they had been installed incorrectly. Capt. Murphy supposedly blamed an assistant, saying something to the effect of "If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will."
Of course the recognition of the malevolence of inanimate objects is centuries old, but here is the first time this concept bears the now universally familiar label "Murphy's Law."
A very handsome copy of this important Space Race title.